The Eels return to home comforts having put their season firmly back on track by exorcising their Canberra hoodoo with a demolition job on title rivals the Raiders.
Parramatta, stung by their 26-12 round five upset at the hands of the Dragons, grabbed a share of second place by running away in the second half to record their first win in the national capital since 2006.
Off-season recruit Isaiah Papali'i scored his fourth (running over his namesake Josh) and fifth tries to spark the win and cement his status as one of the buys of 2021 so far.
And halfback Mitch Moses was in everything, his kicking game masterful and a constant threat with ball in hand.
Brisbane, meanwhile, looked like they had turned their season around when on course to upset the unbeaten Panthers on Thursday night only for Penrith skipper Nathan Cleary to snatch victory from their grasp.
Eels v Broncos
Match: Eels v Broncos
Round 7 -
Venue: TIO Stadium, Darwin
Eels: The Eels will start 1-17 with Haze Dunster the 18th man. Keegan Hipgrave was the last player to be left out.
Dylan Brown will return from suspension at five-eighth so Will Smith has moved to the interchange bench with Keegan Hipgrave on the reserves list.
Back-rower Ryan Matterson (concussion) was again a late withdrawal in round six and while the club is working hard to bring him back coach Brad Arthur has reiterated Matterson's health and safety was the Eels' priority.
Matterson and Jordan Rankin were trimmed from the reserves list 24 hours before kick-off.
The Eels have won five of their six games at Darwin’s TIO Stadium.
Broncos: Brisbane will start 1-17 with Rhys Kennedy the 18th man. Tyson Gamble was omitted an hour before the match.
Centre Herbie Farnworth returns from a shoulder injury and new hooker recruit Danny Levi comes straight into the side on the interchange bench.
Levi joined the club on Tuesday for the remainder of 2021 after starting the year with the Broncos' affiliate club Norths Devils.
In a further boost for Brisbane, Kotoni Staggs's rehabilitation is ahead of schedule and he could be back in action as soon as Magic Round next month.
John Asiata and Jesse Arthars were omitted from the extended bench on Thursday night.
The Broncos have lost their past 12 games away from home.
Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton GuthersonFullback for Broncos is number 1 Jamayne Isaako
Winger for Eels is number 2 Maika SivoWinger for Broncos is number 2 Xavier Coates
Centre for Eels is number 3 Tom OpacicCentre for Broncos is number 3 Herbie Farnworth
Centre for Eels is number 4 Marata NiukoreCentre for Broncos is number 4 David Mead
Winger for Eels is number 5 Blake FergusonWinger for Broncos is number 5 Corey Oates
Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan BrownFive-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Brodie Croft
Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell MosesHalfback for Broncos is number 7 Tom Dearden
Prop for Eels is number 8 Reagan Campbell-GillardProp for Broncos is number 8 Matthew Lodge
Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed MahoneyHooker for Broncos is number 9 Jake Turpin
Prop for Eels is number 10 Junior PauloProp for Broncos is number 10 Payne Haas
2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Tevita Pangai Junior
2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Isaiah Papali'i2nd Row for Broncos is number 17 Jordan Riki
Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan BrownLock for Broncos is number 13 Patrick Carrigan
Interchange for Eels is number 14 Oregon KaufusiInterchange for Broncos is number 14 Danny Levi
Interchange for Eels is number 15 Will SmithInterchange for Broncos is number 15 Thomas Flegler
Interchange for Eels is number 16 Wiremu GreigInterchange for Broncos is number 16 Ethan Bullemor
Interchange for Eels is number 17 Bryce CartwrightInterchange for Broncos is number 18 Rhys Kennedy
Reserve for Eels is number 18 Haze DunsterReserve for Broncos is number 19 Tyson Gamble
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
- Touch Judge: Darian Furner
- Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy
Clint Gutherson v Jamayne Isaako: The fullbacks are 1-2 in kick return metres after six rounds. The man they call The King has kept a lower profile in 2021 but is still one of the better fullbacks in the competition. Gutherson's defence has been superb and he is still making his presence felt in attack with three tries and three try assists.
Isaako was one of the few bright spots for Brisbane as they struggled through the opening four rounds. With the Broncos playmakers, and therefore Brisbane's attack, lacking a cutting edge Isaako worked hard to provide some sort of threat.
Wingers Blake Ferguson and Xavier Coates have been taking Eels and Broncos fans on a rollercoaster ride in 2021. Ferguson (12) and Coates (11) are No.1 and No.2 for handling errors while also ranking in the top 10 for tries - Coates 5th (six tries) and Ferguson eighth (five).
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